Are you tired of the music on your iPod? We’ve all been there. Sometime we reach a point where every song we own seems boring, overplayed and uninspiring. In those moments of crisis, we rummage through Pandora or YouTube for something to reinvigorate and excite us. Such tactics have middling results. But fear not, music lovers. Here are 15 songs to rejuvenate your iPod and get you grooving again. The aim of this piece was to select tunes you may be unfamiliar with, as I feel most of the songs on here often get overlooked. So without further ado, sit back, relax, spark a J and enjoy the tracks.
Looking for the next song to make you involuntary tap your foot on MUNI? Well look no further, my tune-thirsty soul brothers. Remix Artist Collective, better known as RAC, is a group of international artists that have helped music lovers near and far get down and dirty on the dance floor with their upbeat, electronic songs. After giving us incredibly-remixed tracks such as Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans and Katie Herzig’s Free My Mind, they’ve uploaded this little ditty for the world to enjoy. I hope it’ll be to your liking.
This one goes out to all the boys and girls mending a broken heart. Breakups can be difficult, as our minds become flooded with a wave of emotions ranging from sadness, jealousy and anger. Quite often, we try jumping back into the dating world before our hearts have fully recovered. As such, we begin seeing people for purely physical reasons because our hearts are incapable of love. Bedouin Soundclash’s unique sound, which often incorporates elements of Reggae and Ska, meshes perfectly with the somber and honest lyrics of this song—which is simply a narrative about using someone for their body while disregarding their soul.
The instrumentals for this song were used in such excellent films as Stranger Than Fiction and Shutter Island. And like the dramatic scenes from which it was used, this song is a gut-punch that strikes an emotional chord with its vitality. Featuring some of the most tragically beautiful lyrics you’ll ever come across, this song is not for the faint of heart. It takes its emotional toll, but is spectacular in its delivery.
After hearing that Debbie-Downer of a jingle, here’s a tune to lighten your spirits and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. After giving us one of the best love songs of the decade with Home, Edward Sharpe and Magnetic Zeros continue to spread positive vibes on their debut album with this tune about the wonders of love.
For starters, if you haven’t seen Kill Bill by now, you’ve got a serious problem. One attribute that sets Quentin Tarantino apart from other directors is how meticulous he is about every aspect of his films. He slaves over writing the script, is careful in selecting his cast, and directs everyone on set to properly execute his vision. Moreover, he knows how to think outside of the box. So when he decided to write a Kung-Fu movie, he asked non other than The Rza from The Wu-Tang Clan to compose the film’s soundtrack. Per usual, Tarantino’s decision was spot-on, as the film is littered with incredible tracks such as Gheorghe Zamfir’s The Lonely Shepherd and Luis Bacalov’s The Grand Duel, as well as this inspirational tune—featured at the grave of one Paula Shulz.
By now, you’ve most likely come across a song or two from Majestic Casual on YouTube. Featuring hundreds of songs that include artists ranging from A Tribe Called Quest to Fleetwood Mac, the Majestic network clearly has a broad spectrum. However, their purpose remains clear: to give life back to music by infusing positive, often mellow, tunes into our ear buds. Such is the case with Oll Zen’s remix of Gang Starr’s Skills, which mashes an old-school joint with a new-age, upbeat instrumental for the kids to boogie to.
Let’s dive back into the Tarantino well for a moment, shall we? Django was one of the first films in Hollywood to depict the plight of the black slave in early America with uncompromising rawness and honesty. Moreover, it features another spectacular soundtrack that includes songs from John Legend, Rick Ross and Tupac. But this tune, sung by the soulful Elayna Boynton and Anthony Hamilton, trumps the rest. Featured during one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the film, this song fits perfectly with the theme of the movie.
Here’s a classic from Death Cab For Cutie that you may have overlooked. With cryptic lyrics that can be difficult to decode, this song dealing with the highs and lows of Californian life, in my opinion. In certain areas of the state, one can often times feel alone, insecure and forgotten—as if they’re just drifting day-to-day in a place that moves one-hundred miles per hour. So where else do those people turn but the beach, where life slows down and the shouts of the city are silenced. The escape to the great Pacific is where some of us find salvage, where the tune of our life’s song can transform from dark and unsettling, to upbeat and liberating—something this song mirrors at the 2:29 mark.
Fresh off the release of their much-anticipated second album Let’s Be Still, I think it’s important to reflect on some of the earlier work from the Seattle-based indie folk-rock band, The Head and the Heart. Formed in the summer of 2009 by singer-songwriters Josian Johnson and Jonathan Russel, the band gained a strong fan base in-part due to their inspirational lyrics that detail the value of friendship and the joys of life. Further, they put on an incredible live show, as evidence by this intimate and hear-felt performance from the Doe Bay Sessions.
Who would have thought you could create an incredibly vibrant and fun song by simply adding a beat and some horns to an inspiring presidential speech? Regardless of your political beliefs or feelings regarding the 44th president of the United States, I believe everyone can rally behind the message and theme of his words. Moreover, when that beat drops, you can’t help but shake your tail feather.
You can add this one to that mix you’re making for your next camping trip. Featuring beautiful acoustics and lyrics about growing up, Ben Howard has supplanted himself as one of the premier up-and-coming artists of our generation. His debut album, Every Kingdom includes such great tracks as The Wolves, The Fear and Keep Your Head Up. Check it out.
Aside from being a great song, I had to include this little ditty on the basis of adorability. Losing touch with our younger, more-imaginative selves is often times an unfortunate inevitability of life. I’ve never seriously thought about transforming mankind into a swarm of frogs, but after hearing this little girl explain her vision, I may have to reconsider. In classic M83 form, this is a fun song filled with originality and flavor. See also: My Tears Are Becoming A Sea and Wait.
Here’s a beautiful love song from The Head and the Heart that I implore you to check out. Their awe-dropping and beautiful harmonizing is on full display here. I won’t say much else, and let the music speaks for itself. See also: Lost In my Mind and Down In the Valley.
Sometimes all we’re looking for is a way to make an old song feel new. So how do we do that? By hearing an acoustic version, of course. Foster the People’s performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk includes acoustic versions of Houdini, Helena Beat and Pumped Up Kicks from their debut album Torches. In typical Tiny Desk fashion, this is an intimate display highlighting how talented these guys are as musicians. Enjoy.
In the theme of promoting great music from popular movies, this song was brought back into the public eye in Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling’s 2011 neo-noir classic Drive. While watching the film, it’s difficult not to link the graphics and music to the popular Grand Theft Auto videogame, Vice City. As such, songs like A Real Hero, by College & Electric youth, as well as Under Your Spell, by Desire blend in nicely with the tone of the film. But this song, done by Riz Ortolani and featuring Katyna Ranieri, is a masterpiece that can’t be overlooked.
Are you looking for something romantic? Hopefully by now you’ve stumbled upon Woody Allen’s nostalgic and charming 2011 film Midnight In Paris. Featuring music from before the turn of the century, the movie is a delightful tale about nostalgia, disillusionment and love. Moreover, similar to Manhattan and Blue Jasmine, the movie serves as a love letter to Paris. This song, featured at the beginning of the film, is heard best in the rain—something Gil Pender can surely attest to.